Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni will hold further talks with Lionel Messi over the captain’s return to international action.
Messi has not featured for his country since the World Cup, where Jorge Sampaoli’s men were dumped out by France.
The forward dragged Argentina through the group stage with a wonderful goal against Nigeria, but a chaotic campaign ended in the last 16.
Messi has given no indication over whether he will play international football again, with Argentina beginning preparations for next year’s Copa America.
But Scaloni, appointed as Sampaoli’s successor after initially taking over on an interim basis, is planning to hold further talks with the talismanic forward after they met when the Copa Libertadores final second leg was played in Madrid in December.
“I do not talk very often with Messi, but we have a relationship,” Scaloni said on Friday.
“We are going to try for him to join us in 2019, we have pending talks and we are optimistic that it will be positive.
“For us it is something important. Any coach would like to coach him, myself more than any.”
Speaking last month, Messi’s Argentina team-mate Mauro Icardi said he hopes the Barcelona star can be persuaded to return to the fold.
“He’s the best player in the world and we all hope he comes back with us, especially with the Copa America coming up,” Icardi told TyC Sports after a friendly win against Mexico.